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There is no cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer.

I have so far resisted the jump to streaming media. I do regularly by Kindle books, which Amazon can send down the memory hole without my permission . James Pinkstone gives me another reason to continue resisting. For about ten years, I’ve been warning people, “hang onto your media. One day… information will be a utility rather than a possession. Even information that you yourself have created will require unending, recurring payments just to…

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Facebook Hired Journalists to Train Its Trending Topics Algorithm

Recently I noticed an unusually incendiary phrase in the Facebook “trending” list, and noticed that several people in my feed were reacting strongly to that language. When I clicked the link, I was taken to a page that did not actually contain that phrase. When I searched news.google.com for the source of that phrase, the results came up nil. A few hours later, searched turned up bloggers who were angrily…

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How ‘twisted’ early childhood education has become — from a child development expert

Kids who got low scores, I was told, got extra drills in reading and math and didn’t get to go to art. They used a computer program to teach 4- and 5-year-olds how to “bubble.” One teacher complained to me that some children go outside the lines. In one of the kindergartens I visited, the walls were barren and so was the whole room. The teacher was testing one little…

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The dangers of ‘character education’ in universities

As the authors depressingly note, “the UK is one of the most economically unequal of the rich countries, and closing many of the gaps we describe will require systemic change beyond the scope of this report”. Well, quite. And herein lies the problem with teaching young people that through sheer vim and vigour they can achieve anything they want: for an individual, as the Sutton Trust report shows, it’s a…

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For News Outlets Squeezed From the Middle, It’s Bend or Bust

Hundreds of thousands of people on Facebook followed BuzzFeed’s live video of two people putting rubber bands around a watermelon until it burst. We should all reflect on how journalism can make the news that is truly important interesting enough to compete with exploding fruit. Traditional media companies face the increasingly daunting task of hooking already-inundated audiences, but they also have more tools than ever to lure them. Videos, podcasts,…

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Lawyers who won Happy Birthday copyright case sue over “We Shall Overcome” 

“We Shall Overcome,” a song that was the “unofficial anthem to the civil rights movement,” was wrongly placed under copyright and should be put in the public domain, according to a lawsuit filed today in federal court. The complaint (PDF) was filed by the same group of lawyers who succeeded at putting the world’s most famous song, Happy Birthday, into the public domain after years of litigation. It’s a proposed class action that seeks the…